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5 reasons why alcohol is bad for your skin

5 reasons why alcohol is bad for your skin

There is a laundry list of reasons people embrace cutting back on alcohol and switch to tasty, well-being-boosting alternatives.

Whether it's the siren call of "new year, new me" and shedding a few pounds to feeling a little more in control and clear-headed, AF drinks, such as our expertly curated AF beers and ciders and AF wines, can be good for both mind and body.

How alcohol gets under your skin

As well as being a depressant, many alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and contain tannins that can affect your digestion and metabolism. The result? The potential for serious health issues such as liver disease and high blood pressure.

But there's another drawback to drinking alcohol that people often overlook – its negative effect on your skin.

Knowing why alcohol is bad for the skin – and why your reflection is staring back at you sallow-faced from the mirror – can help you make an informed decision about switching to alcohol-free alternatives.

Why alcohol is bad for your skin

When it comes to the adverse effects of alcohol on your skin, most of the problems stem from two things: inflammation and dehydration.


Ever wondered why you make frequent trips to the bathroom when you've been drinking? (Clue: it's definitely not for the view.)

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it removes water from the body, lowering your body's overall water levels. This in turn depletes your nutrient levels. A lack of water and nutrients can lead to unpleasant side effects like dry mouth, sagging skin and a dull complexion.

Dilated pores

As your body processes alcohol and becomes dehydrated, the pores in your skin dilate and open up. As a result they can become clogged with dead skin cells, natural oils, make-up and everyday grime.

Now for the yukky bit. Once blocked, your pores will either turn into blackheads or whiteheads (probably not the date night look you're gunning for).

Left untreated, they may develop into red boil-like spots across the face. Not only do these affect your hygiene when it comes to skincare, but unsurprisingly they can also impact your self-confidence.

Sugary drinks such as cocktails and wine also increase the skin's oil production, increasing the likelihood of a break-out.


Alcoholic drinks such as red wine, beer and cocktails are the most common culprits behind this side effect.

Alcohol inflames the body's tissues, causing the capillaries in the skin to dilate and blood flow to increase. This is why you go red in the face after having a few too many. This redness can also be accompanied by an uncomfortable puffiness, particularly around the cheeks, mouth and eyes. 

Rash, itch or hives

Some people develop skins problems as a result of a sensitivity or intolerance to an ingredient in alcoholic drinks. Along with ethanol, alcoholic drinks contain many different ingredients from grains, yeasts, and colourings to preservatives like sulphites.

A sensitivity to an alcoholic ingredient can cause a range of symptoms including hives, rashes and itchy skin.

Lack of sleep

Ever woken up early after a night out and wondered why you've only managed a few of hours of sleep? 

Alcohol can make you fall asleep quicker that an anvil dropped on the head of a cartoon character, but don't expect a restful night. When you drink alcohol, your body adapt to allow it to function.

Pretty neat. However, once your body finishes metabolising the alcohol as you sleep, all the changes your body made are suddenly unnecessary. This leaves your body out of whack, and that can jolt you awake in the early hours.

And because you probably haven't had a decent night's kip, your body hasn't had a chance to repair itself. This means you can wake up with dark circles under your eyes and a dull complexion (bring on the concealer!).

Early wrinkles

Another reason why alcohol is bad for your skin is the early appearance of wrinkles (and take it from us, nobody ever wants early wrinkles).

This is again due to alcohol's dehydrating effect. As water is removed from your skin, it becomes drier and thinner, and starts to sag,  creating wrinkles. Wrinkles are unlikely to appear overnight; however, premature ageing can be an issue for regular drinkers.

What are the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on skin

Long-term effects of alcohol consumption on skin can include:

  • Permanent redness/rosacea (a common skin condition causing flushing and visible blood vessels in the face).
  • Developing wrinkles faster/appearing to age quicker.
  • Blackheads and whiteheads may turn into acne, which in turn can leave scars.
  • Itchy skin condition known as pruritus
  • Hyperpigmentation (where dark patches appear on the skin)
  • Jaundice (where the skin takes on a yellow tint)

How to reverse the effects of alcohol on the skin

The good news is that cutting out alcohol entirely can see some pretty speedy results.

After 24 hours of no alcohol, facial redness and puffiness should disappear. After seven days, your skin's hydration levels should return to normal, leaving you looking fresh and dewy.

Within two weeks of not drinking alcohol, your sleep will improve with added benefits for the skin. And as it takes 28 days for your skin to renew itself fully, expect to see a marked improvement after a month.

So, remember great skin doesn't happen by chance, it's a reflection of overall wellness. Want to ditch the booze and switch to alcohol-free drinks instead? 

Our range of mouth-watering range of AF drinks have been hand-picked by our dedicated Zerologists. From spirits to beers to wine, we've got a selection for everyone!

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